The $21 million extravaganza is anchored by the world’s richest race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup (Group I), which has lured North American horses such as Donn Handicap (GI) champ Albertus Maximus, Goodwood Handicap (GI) winner Well Armed, Meadowlands Cup (GII) hero Arson Squad and Pennsylvania Derby (GII) champ Anak Nakal. The Americans will face a stellar international cast that includes Japan’s Casino Drive, winner of last year’s Peter Pan (GII), and 2007 UAE Triple Crown winner Asiatic Boy, the runner-up to Curlin in last year’s World Cup.
The 1 1/8-mile UAE Derby is an important steppingstone to Kentucky Derby 135 for Godolphin’s UAE 2,000 Guineas champ Desert Party, who’ll be ridden by Frankie Dettori. The prominent global outfit will also start Regal Ransom and Jose Adan.
Other familiar Northern American stars scheduled to run on the program are Archipenko (Duty Free), Black Seventeen (Golden Shaheen), Diabolical (Golden Shaheen), Doctor Dino (Sheema Classic), Gayego (Godolphin Mile), Hyperbaric (Duty Free), Indian Blessing (Golden Shaheen), Kip Deville (Duty Free), Marsh Side (Sheema Classic), Quijano (Sheema Classic), Red Rocks (Sheema Classic), Tiz Now Tiz Then (Godolphin Mile) and Two Step Salsa (Godolphin Mile).
The roster of winners for the 1 ¼-mile Dubai World Cup includes Cigar (1996), Singspiel (1997), Silver Charm (1998), Dubai Millennium (2000), Captain Steve (2001), Street Cry (2002), Pleasantly Perfect (2004), Roses in May (2005), Invasor (2007) and Curlin (2008).
Trackside at Churchill Downs will offer free general admission from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. After 11:30 a.m., general admission is $3, but only $1 for Twin Spires Club members and seniors. Also, a $4.75 breakfast special – featuring eggs, sausage or bacon, biscuits and gravy, hash browns and coffee or juice – will be on sale in the ITW food court on the second floor of the clubhouse.
Later in the afternoon, Churchill Downs also will simulcast the Florida Derby Day program from Gulfstream Park with the important Grade I race scheduled as Race 10 at 5:44 p.m.